X Factor viewing figures drop to six million for opening night

Viewing figures for the opening show of The X Factor have dropped to six million.
Viewing figures for the opening show of The X Factor have dropped to six million.

The new series of The X Factor kicked off with six million viewers - the lowest launch since the show began in 2004.

The return of Simon Cowell's ITV talent contest drew an average of six million viewers (32% share), peaking with 6.9 million (36%).

It is a drop from last year's opener when an average of 6.8 million and a peak of 7.5 million peak tuned in.

The figures make it the lowest launch since the programme began in 2004, when 4.9 million watched the opening night.

But The X Factor was still by far the most watched programme of the night, with the next-highest-rating show being Casualty on BBC1 with 3.5 million viewers.

The 14th series of The X Factor began last night, a week before the return of BBC1 rival Strictly Come Dancing.

The show continues tonight, when viewers will see a singer who lost 5st, a dinner lady called Gaga and a grandmother who brings Simon Cowell fish fingers.

Numbers include those from ITV+1, but are set to rise when consolidated figures are calculated for viewers watching on catch-up.

This year's judging panel includes Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh.